Friday, October 17, 2014

Being Perfectly Paleo in the Zombie Apocalypse

Warning- if you're not caught up on the Walking Dead, there is a Season 5 Spoiler below.
It's that time of year again.  The Walking Dead premiered last weekend, Halloween is right around the corner, and I have a hankering to watch Zombieland.

Things like this get me thinking.  Would I be able to survive the Zombie Apocalypse and maintain a real food, Paleo lifestyle?  In my head, the answer would obviously be yes.

Ok, but seriously.

.... if the Zombie Apocalypse happened tomorrow, how long would any of us survive?  The sad truth is that based on our own survival skills and knowledge of how to forage for our own food, most of us would not last long.

Let's look at the most likely scenario:

The Zombie apocalypse takes over and suddenly the grocery stores and fast food chains are shut down.  Because from what I hear, Zombies are really inefficient workers.

So you turn to your pantry.... how much do you have that does not require a stove, running water, or a microwave to cook?  I would guess that most of us do not have much.  Maybe a few packets of tuna fish and some granola bars.

So after you've raided your neighbors houses and maybe even sacrificed the family pet, what next?  The next logical step would be to hunt and forage.  But do you know what to look for or how to set a snare?

Here's the issue....  unless you are one of the lucky few to find Daryl Dixon or Tallahassee to cover your six, you probably won't make it past the first thirty days.  Much less be perfectly Paleo.

And as a survivor, it would be to my advantage to be ok with that.  But I'm not about that.

Read this.  Think about it.  And may, just maybe, I'll let you join my team when the undead come for us.

Staying Perfectly Paleo in the Zombie Apocalypse

Let Go of Perfectionism

First and foremost, surviving in the post apocalyptic world is not the time to be concerned about that piece of bread going to your hips.  You're going to cheat.  Get over it and move on (seriously, move quickly).

Fat Adaption

Do you get hangry if you don't eat every 3 hours?  Could you fast for 12 hours and still be able to function?  If the thought of this blows your mind, you are probably not fat adapted.  Meaning that your body does not know how to use stored fat as fuel and relies primarily on consumed carbohydrates

This is pretty common in our modern, processed food infected society.  Becoming fat adapted can be achieved by following a low carb, high fat diet.  Luckily, you can start making this change today in preparation.

It would certainly be tragic to be found by a horde of walkers because your stomach is growling or you're having a mega meltdown.

5 Paleo Approved Food Items to look for When Looting

I'm not going to tell you to walk by the Doritos's display because there are made with GMO ingredients.  Indulge if you feel like you need to.  But remember- the amount you can carry and your time are both limited.  Don't waste either.  

You want to look for things that can be stored at room temperature, don't need heating to prepare, and can be easily transported.  
  1. Coconut Oil- Ounce for ounce, this would be the most valuable item in the store for me.  It's calorically dense and great for building the immune system.  But most notably, the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil support endurance performance and prevents muscle breakdown.  So the short of it- I'll be able to take a sledgehammer to the masses without being quickly fatigued. 
  2. Almond Butter- Similar to coconut oil, this is a good source of sustained energy and is calorie dense.  You could also grab some whole almonds to munch on while you're on the move.
  3. Canned Sardines- I know.  Gross, right?  But besides being a good protein source, they are chocked full of nutrients.  You're also getting the benefit of eating nose to tail, which is by far the best way to incorporate as many usable nutrients as possible into your body.  If this totally grosses you out, you can hunt down some tuna packets.  But if we're being efficient here, you're better off with the sardines.
  4. Dried Meat- Also known as beef jerky.  Full of satisfying protein and easy to carry, it's a treasure.  The problem with beef jerky is that it will probably be one of the first items to be looted (who doesn't love a Slim Jim).  But let me give you a hint- don't forget the pet section.  I buy my dogs beef jerky all the time and just got them some exquisite dried beef lung yesterday.  In fact, I would argue that a holistic pet store would be one of the best places to loot in the apocalypse- it would almost assuredly be fully stocked with unlimited potential.
  5. Coconut Milk- Again, it's calorie dense and will help maintain sustained energy.  It's also a good source of hydration, especially since all the water will probably have been looted.  Just don't forget to grab a can opener or two.
Forget the Twinkies.  Forget the massive cans of pudding.  Go for the stuff that will travel well and more importantly, give you sustained energy.

Learn to Hunt and Gather

Eventually, all the stores will have been looted or be too overrun with the undead to be worth the energy.  This is where your inner Bear Grylls will need to flourish.

Admittedly, this is an area where I'm super weak.  I know how to hunt Morels and I'm willing to eat dandelion leaves.  

But I would say that foraging for plant foods will be a waste of energy.  Go for the big win- hunting wild game.

The meat and fat from most wild game will go much further in keeping you alive and thriving.  You'll of course need to learn how to butcher and either dry the meat or make a fire to cook the meat.

Either way, I'm not the expert in any of this (although that's become my new project).  But these skills will eventually mean the difference between life and death.

And then there's Terminus....

Ok.  I know we were all grossed out by antics of the Terminus crew in the Walking Dead.  But the truth is, there is evidence that cannibalism was a fairly common practice early in our human history.  During periods of famine, the weak and useless where used to benefit the entire group.  If that's not motivation to be a contributing member of your Zombie fighting tribe, I don't know what is.

But seriously.  Have you ever been truly starving?  Or had your entire world constantly threatened?

I'm not saying I would indulge...  I'm just saying that you would want me on your team.


So, what are you plans to stay perfectly Paleo when the dead rise?



Monday, October 6, 2014

Better at 30

Yesterday I did something most women (or people for that matter) dread.

I turned the Big 3-0.

(Don't worry, if you haven't visited Facebook and wished me my obligatory "Happy Birthday" yet, you still have time.)

I've had a sordid relationship with 30 for quite some time.  I stopped counting my age after I turned 25.  Just anniversaries of my 25th birthday.

A year and a half ago, my dear friend Julie told me that being in your 30's was way better than being in your 20's.  I told her that sounded like something someone in their 30's would say.

And then I was told by someone else (probably Pinterest) that 30 is the new 20.  Um, What?

But why?  

Why are we so consumed with the impending turnover of the calendar?  Why is age now met with Botox and a boob job?  Why is it that we are so bent on robbing ourselves of the journey?

Because aging is, quite frankly, ugly.  We live in a society where we have the blessing of modern medicine paired with incredibly easy lives.  Because of these benefits, aging is associated with wrinkles, medication, lack of mobility, long term care, and eventually, relying on a machine to keep us alive.

But what if it didn't have to be that way?  Why can't we enjoy the journey?  Why can't we embrace health and vitality into old age?

Listen, I was a hot mess at 20.  I would never want to go back (I spent the first few years fanning a one woman dumpster fire).  But it was fun.  I was young and felt invincible.

But I'm not ready to acquiesce that my best years are behind me.  Or I somehow have peaked.  Or I need to employ pharmaceutical help to age gracefully.

Better at 30

First of all, I'm super pumped to lay it out in the gym.  While it seems that explosive power may peak in most people's 20's, a search of the inter-webs indicates that absolute strength can peak into the 40's.  So basically that means that I have at least a decade of backsquat PRs in front of me!

And guess what- I've noticed I'm starting to getting laugh lines and crows feat.  A few years ago, I was appalled at this thought.  But what a blessed life I've lead that permanent proof of happiness is stamped on my face.  A few days ago, I was speaking with a long time friend talk and noticed her face was starting to show her age... and thought "Wow, she is beautiful."  Why do allow the world to force us to inject adequacy into our bodies?

I've also been learning to love deeper and more thoroughly.  Every year, my husband and I continue to forge a deeper respect for each other.  My nieces and nephews are growing like weeds and time just won't slow down.  And with each passing minute, I am more and more aware that 4 hours of interstate separates me from those who raised me.

I'm grateful I turned 30.  Not because I have some health nut agenda to prove.  It's because I think we all have a unique journey ahead of us.  I want to continue to find my authenticity.  I am excited to spiritually and physically grow stronger.  I want to vigorously unwrap this gift called life.  

I'm not perfect... I won't ever be.  But I'm better now than I was a year ago, and certainly better than I was 10 years ago.

From now on, I'm going to stop chasing perfect and start chasing BETTER.

I can't wait to see where it takes me.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why I (quite frankly) don't care about Annie's being sold to General Mills

A couple weeks ago, maybe the worst thing to ever happen to organic consumers went down....

Annie's Homegrown was sold to the food giant General Mills.

You know Annie's.... that cute little Organic Bunny in the Mac and Cheese aisle.

You know General Mills... arguably one of the top ten food companies, makes sugary and addictive cereals, and unabashedly uses GMOs in their products.

Just as quickly as this news came out, the outcries from the general population started.  If you scroll through Annie's Facebook page, you can see comments of "disappointment", "selling-out", "disgust","shame", "crossing the line", and "COMMENTS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS."

Whoa people, whoa.  

The reason for the outcry is because General Mills is rumored to have spent close to $1.8 million to prevent GMO labeling in the last few years.  Annie's has spoken out in favor of GMO labeling and contributed $60,000 to help the cause.

I am the last person you will see lining up to defend Big Food.  But I think we should all be looking at this move as a good sign.

There is a trend.

General Mills is not stupid.  There is a grassroots movement gaining steam in this country that is demanding organic, non-GMO options.  In fact, sales of organic foods more than doubled from 2004 to 2012, from $11 billion to $27 billion and is expected to grow 14% between 2013 and 2018.

Of course General Mills bought Annie's.  GM has been around the block and is not inept at identifying a great business opportunity.  I doubt they would buy a company that was not a threat or had no income potential.

GM could also be hedging their bets in case GMO labeling is approved in the near future- they now own a ready made, GMO free trailblazer.

And in Annie's defense, this may be an opportunity to increase their market share, to play with the big boys, and in the words of Sheryl Sandberg, "Sit at the Table."

Of course I don't know any of this, I wasn't sitting in the board room.  But in all reality, one of two things will most likely happen.

  1. GM may allow Annie's to continue to thrive and reach a demographic they've had trouble reaching in the past.  
  2. They will use the sale to stifle the GMO labeling momentum that Annie's has helped create.

Either way........

I just don't care.

I don't care because this does not impact my life.  It does not impact the way I grocery shop.  And it certainly does not impact my ability to lead a healthy life.  My shelves are not stacked with boxed, organically labeled food.

Annie's is great for an occasional treat, but it my opinion, it should not be a staple of your diet.  And here is why:
  1. Organic can be a farce.  Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but let's look at what the label actually means:
    • For processed foods, an organic label means that no less than 95% of ingredients are organic quality (but it may contain sugars and oils that are damaging to your health).  
    • For meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy, the animals were given no antibiotics or growth hormones (but still may have been kept in confined, inhumane spaces and fed a diet that does not in any way resemble the natural diet).  
    • For plants, it means they were produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bio-engineering, or ionizing radiation (but may have been shipped halfway across the world, wrecking the environment and decreasing the nutrient content).
  2. Organic foods can still make you fat.  As stated above. just because something is labeled organic, does not mean that it is healthy or even beneficial.  Have you ever walked down the Organic aisle at your local grocers and counted the number of organic cookies?  When did a cookie become a good choice for a healthy diet?  That's a trick question... it didn't.  It is still going to cause a spike in insulin, cause a blood sugar crash, and make you crave more sweets.  Plus, all that sugar will eventually store as fat.  And in the case of Annie's.... let's see: mac and cheese, crackers, cookies, pretzels, and fruit snacks.  All highly processed carbohydrate sources that will wreck your metabolism.
  3. Organic Foods can still have toxic ingredients.  You can farm organic wheat but to a someone with Celiac's or a gluten intolerance, it's pretty toxic.  It's possible to make organic sugar, but sugar is still pretty much toxic to all of us (it's just a slower burn).  And again, since we're talking about Annie's, let's look at their Organic Cowgirl Ranch Dressing.  The first ingredient is Expeller pressed vegetable oil (Canola or Sunflower).  These oils contain high amounts of Omega-6's, are highly inflammatory in the body, and are not shelf stable (meaning they can go rancid very easily).  
I will happily admit- I love me some mac and cheese.  When I have had a hankering and I know it won't impact my goals (ok, sometimes even if it does), I indulge in Annie's Gluten Free Mac and Cheese.  But not under the guise that this processed product was healthy for me.  Under the understanding that this was at least better than some other options.

My point here is that if your world was totally wrecked by the "sell-out" of Annie's, I am calling out an opportunity to look at your buying habits.

  • Instead of relying on a food manufacture to tell you what is in your meal, go hug a local farmer.  
  • Start a garden.  
  • Visit the farmer's market.  
  • Join a CSA.  
  • Buy into a service that delivers directly to your door.  
  • Buy your meat directly from a local, grass-fed operation.  
  • Spend most of your time on the outside aisles of the grocery store.

Eat whole sources of meats, fish, veggies, fruit, nuts, oils, and seasonings.  Cook and prep your meals and snacks as much as possible.  Reserve products like Annie's for times when you have a treat.

I don't want this article to come off like I'm ambivalent about our food system.  Trust me, I care deeply.  But when it comes to one highly processed food manufacturer buying another highly processed food manufacturer, I just don't care.

What do you think of this acquisition?  Do you care?  Do you agree or disagree with me?